Protests at either end of Illinois over immigration, racism

CHICAGO/CARBONDALE — While not coordinated, there were two separate protests at the extreme ends of the state, speaking out against the immigration crackdown and white supremacy. WSIU, a Carbondale NPR station, reported that the Southern Illinois Immigrant Rights Project showed support for the residents of El Paso on Wednesday. The radio station said the group delivered a letter and held a picket asking U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) to condemn the white supremist rhetoric and policies coming from the White House. Becca Tally told WSIU that the group wanted Bost to make a statement. “That is necessary for the people that are here residing in his district to know that he wants to serve and protect everyone of us no matter what race, religion, creed or national origin that we are from,” she said.

Royal Flight Drag Show coming to Carbondale in August

CARBONDALE — Hanger 9 in Carbondale will be hosing the Royal Flight Drag Show on Saturday, Aug. 10. From the Facebook event:
The Royal Family of Carbondale is back!! — Join the king and queens for a wild night of dancing and drag! Hosted by the blonde bombshell Jodie Santana and the legend of Carbondale, Blanche DuBois!

Boycott threatened after Du Quoin State Fair cancels Confederate Railroad performance

CARBONDALE — The Du Quoin State Fair has come under fire after taking the band Confederate Railroad off the line up, reportedly because of their use of Confederate imagery. 

The Southern Illinoisan reported on Monday that a Facebook group called #boycottduquoinstatefair has reached more than 2,400 members in four days, with members discussing their frustration with the cancellation and plan their protest. From The Southern Illinoisan:
The cancellation was first acknowledged by Du Quoin State Fair Manager Josh Gross in a statement to the Du Quoin Weekly. “The Illinois Department of Agriculture has removed Confederate Railroad from our 2019 Du Quoin State Fair Grandstand lineup,” he said. “While every artist has a right to expression, we believe this decision is in the best interest of serving all of the people in our state.”

That comment has led many to infer that the decision was made by Illinois Department of Agriculture leaders in Springfield, and not by local employees. The Department of Ag manages the two annual state fairs in Illinois.

LGBTQ town hall in Carbondale brought in information, frustration

CARBONDALE — Though only one lawmaker attended, an LGBTQ town hall in Carbondale this week provided some education and frustration to community members in this southern Illinois city. Only State Rep. Terri Bryant, (R-Murphysboro) showed up although others were invited. The town hall had a good attendance with about 50 people arriving but it was tense. Bryant’s record on LGBTQ issues is not good. According to local TV station WSIL, Bryant had voted against the Inclusive Curriculum Bill and stated her opposition to quite a few issue important to the LGBTQ community during the town hall.

Truvada pills

PrEP availability expands in Southern Illinois

CARBONDALE — Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) will become more available in Southern Illinois thanks to a coalition of groups. 

The Southern Illinoisan reported on Wednesday that the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the Southern Seven Health Department are working together to expand the availibility of Truvada, which has been found to largely prevent transmission of HIV. in the state’s southernmost counties. From The Southern Illinoisan:

Southern Seven’s Cairo Clinic began offering access to HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, services for the first time on Wednesday to anyone living within the department’s service area counties of Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union. The Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada for HIV prevention in 2012, but “this medication has seen a slow uptake in rural communities,” the health department said in a news release. “A lot of the folks that live in this area do not have access to medical treatment, especially when it comes to HIV prevention and treatment.

Southern Illinois LGBTQ Town Hall to be held June 25

CARBONDALE — The Rainbow Cafe LGBT Youth Center and Equality Illinois are hosting an LGBTQ town hall on Tuesday, June 25. From the Facebook event:
The Rainbow Cafe LGBTQ Center, in conjunction with Equality IL, is pleased to host an LGBTQ focused Town Hall with Illinois House Representative Terri Bryant, 115th district, and Representative Dave Severin, 117th District. There will be a question and answer period, followed by an open forum. We will announce other District Representatives as they confirm. Appetizers and hors d’oeuvres by Cristaudo’s Catering.